Progress of the World’s Women 2019-2020: Families in a Changing World examines how the transformations in families impact women’s rights, and reveals most countries can afford family-friendly policies.
Progress of the World’s Women 2019-2020: Families in a Changing World examines how the transformations in families impact women’s rights, and reveals most countries can afford family-friendly policies
As women’s rights have advanced over the past decades, families around the world have become a place of love and solidarity but also one where fundamental human rights violations and gender inequalities persist, according to UN Women’s new global report, Progress of the World’s Women 2019-2020: Families in a Changing World, launched at a women’s leadership event hosted by KPMG in Melbourne today.
“Laws, policies and social norms can create and reinforce fundamental gender inequalities in family relationships, which impacts on broader societies. With this report, UN Women calls on governments, civil society, and the private sector to recognise the rich diversity of families, and to work together to advance women’s rights and ensure that all families can flourish,” said Mohammad Naciri, UN Women Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. “UN Women’s vision for families is of a home for equality and justice – a place where women can exercise choice and voice, and where women have physical safety and economic security.”
Anchored in global data, innovative analysis and case studies, the report shows the diversity of families around the world and provides recommendations for developing laws and policies that will support today’s families and meet the needs of their members, especially women and girls, with analysis of what it would cost to implement them.
The report shows that families can be places of care but can also bring conflict, inequality and, far too often, violence. Today, three billion women and girls live in countries where rape within marriage is not explicitly criminalised. But injustice and violations take other forms as well. In one out of five countries girls do not have the same inheritance rights as boys, while in others (a total of 19 countries) women are required by law to obey their husbands. Around one third of married women in developing countries report having little or no say over their own healthcare.
Women continue to enter the labour market in large numbers, but marriage and motherhood reduce their workforce participation rates, and the income and benefits that come with it. Globally, just over half of married women aged 25-54 are in the workforce, compared to two-thirds of single women, and 96 percent of married men, new data in the report shows. In Australia, women’s workforce participation rate for those aged 25-54 increased from 70 percent in 1998 to 79 percent in 20185.
A major driver of these inequalities is the fact that women continue to do three times as much unpaid care and domestic work as men in the absence of affordable care services.
“While women’s workforce participation rate in Australia remains high by global standards, it is lower than the average for Europe or North America, and this limits our economic growth. KPMG’s August 2019 She’s Priced-less gender economics report found that halving the gender pay gap and entrenched discrimination against women would increase economic growth by $60 billion by 20385. Closing the gap would have significant economic benefits,” says UN Women Australia Executive Director, Janelle Weissman.
The report sheds some positive light on parental leave, with an increase of its intake by fathers, particularly in countries where specific incentives, such as ‘daddy quotas’, are in place that reserve a non-transferable portion of the leave for them on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis.
It also puts a spotlight on the challenges that women and their families face when they migrate. Unjust regulations mean that not all families have the right to family reunification and they are often excluded from access to public services. When women’s migration status is tied to their partners, it can be difficult or impossible for them to escape violent relationships.
The report calls on policymakers, activists and people in all walks of life to transform families into places of equality and justice—where women can exercise choice and voice, and where they have physical safety and economic security.
An analysis produced for this report found that most countries could implement a package of policies, including income support throughout the life course, healthcare, and care services for children and older persons for less than 5 percent of GDP.
Hosting the Asia Pacific launch of the report today, KPMG Australia Chairman, Alison Kitchen said: “Ensuring that families serve as a home for equality and justice is not only a moral imperative, but essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world’s most comprehensive agenda to ensure human progress.”
Ms Kitchen said that KPMG’s own research in gender economics reflected the important UN report findings. She noted the key drivers of Australia's gender gap included gender discrimination, occupational segregation, and years not working due to interruptions such as child-care and caring for elderly family members.
“This is also about the family and women’s rights where we see solving the problem of Australia's gender pay gap is not only fair and sensible but an economically responsible endeavour. Helping to reshape opportunities for women, starting with sharing of family responsibilities, can flow through into tangible economic outcomes.”
Speaking about families and the UN Women’s vision, Mohammad Naciri said: “Families are a critical part of the landscape that defines our world. Although the experience of family life is essentially universal, families themselves are diverse.
UN Women’s vision for families is as a home for equality and justice – a place where women can exercise choice and voice, and where women have physical safety and economic security
But, laws, policies and social norms can create and reinforce fundamental gender inequalities in family relationships, which impacts on broader societies. With this Report, UN Women calls on governments, civil society and the private sector to recognise the rich diversity of families, and to work together to advance women’s rights and ensure that all families can flourish.”
The main global facts and figures from the report can be found here.
Insightful regional fact sheets and stories of change featuring civil society initiatives in various countries, along with seven data sets and complimentary videos, are available here.
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These statistics of the key global, regional and Australian trends observed:
Southern Asia’s stats on marriage:
Southeastern Asia’s stats on marriage:
The Pacific (Oceania excluding Australia and New Zealand)’s stats on marriage:
The Pacific (Oceania excluding Australia and New Zealand)’s stats on VAW:
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